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By Thomas Perry
DCMA Public Affairs
My DCMA showcases the Defense Contract Management Agency’s experienced and diverse workforce and highlights what being part of the national defense team means to them.
Today, Heather Roberts-Wrenn, the agency’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program manager, shares her story. In a previous article highlighting the agency-wide benefits of the DEI program, she defined inclusion as “the act of creating an environment in which every person feels welcomed, respected, valued, supported and safe. Inclusive environments celebrate differences and value the unique perspectives, thoughts, ideas, knowledge, skills and abilities we bring to the organization.”
Why did you choose DCMA? Why did you choose federal service?
I joined DCMA in October 2021, after working as a Department of the Army civilian. I chose federal service because I believe that making positive changes and progress in our government will impact the entire nation. When the federal government moves forward on something, the whole country, from businesses to academia to individual citizens, will follow suit.
Working for the federal government makes even more sense as a military spouse as it allows me the ability to stay with the same employer even while moving across the nation. My wife, Army Master Sgt. Stephanie Roberts-Wrenn, is an active duty Soldier currently attending the Sergeant Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas. I began my federal service while we were stationed at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. Moving around and supporting her service was an easy choice, made even easier now that we both work for the federal government, and we can each advance our careers.
Why do you enjoy working at DCMA?
I appreciate the diversity built into the agency from the geographically dispersed nature of our mission. While this geographic dispersion has its challenges, there is beauty and significant advantages in being able to work with folks across the globe. Diverse teams, with diverse perspectives, ideas, experiences, and opinions, make better decisions and enhance nearly all measures of success for an organization. The inherent diversity in our workforce is one of our greatest assets in my opinion. Not every agency, organization or company has it.
What motivates you professionally?
People. Taking care of people, improving their work lives, engaging them, and unleashing their full potential and creativity devoted to moving the needle on the mission. I chose a career in human resources because of my passion for people and the desire to help them in the workplace. I merged my interest in psychology and human behavior with my aptitude for business to select this career field.
What inspired you to work within the Diversity and Inclusion field?
Diversity and inclusion have been lifelong passions borne out of my background, enhanced through my education and honed by my experience. I was born in Hawaii, which is a highly diverse and inclusive culture to begin with. My grandma used to call her grandchildren her “League of Nations,” because we were so racially diverse: Portuguese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, German, Hawaiian, Chinese and Italian.
Out of nine grandchildren, five of us were adopted. I not only have racial diversity in my family, but also neurodiversity and diversity in terms of gender identity and sexual orientation. Growing up, most of my friends were diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin and sexual orientation. In college, I sought out courses tied to diversity and inclusion. During my career, I have pursued various roles and responsibilities on a multitude of Diversity and Inclusion Councils. Diversity and inclusion are things I am inherently passionate about and believe to be of value. From a business perspective, I understand the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion in terms of employee engagement and business outcomes.
What is your professional mindset and leadership philosophy?
I believe in taking care of people, ensuring they have a work environment that enables their best work, engages them, empowers them to reach their greatest potential and allows them to bring their whole selves to work every day.
What are the major challenges of your job?
DEI work is inherently nuanced. Although the science and research behind the work is solid, conducting the work itself requires addressing numerous aspects of the workplace. Additionally, in my time at DCMA, I’ve already encountered numerous people who are passionate about DEI and making our agency a better, more equitable place for all. They have shared so many great ideas that I want to work toward, the challenge is incorporating all of them.
What aspect of your job would surprise agency team members?
It may be news to some in the agency that my position has a standing membership on the CARES Council. I’ve also participated in the initial phases of the formation of the new Strategic Plan. These two facts alone demonstrate that DCMA senior leadership recognizes the importance of DEI work in the accomplishment of our mission and has given the role its due and a proverbial seat at the table.
What are your professional aspirations?
I want to make the greatest contribution possible in my current and potential future roles. I see myself as a change agent; I always enter a position with the mindset that I will make the greatest impact I can and leave the position and agency better than I found it. Whether that’s in three or 10 years will depend on if I feel like I’m still able to positively affect the organization. I want to make the largest beneficial impact, which may lead me into management or higher echelons of DEI leadership in the government.
What are somethings you enjoy doing away from work?
I enjoy traveling and good food. My wife and I got engaged in Jamaica and spent our honeymoon traveling across twelve different countries in Europe. During my MBA program, I also completed a global business experience to learn about conducting business in other countries where I spent time in England again and traveled to Ireland for the first time. Enjoying delicious food and discovering new restaurants is also one of my favorite pastimes.
For more information on the agency’s DEI program, team members can visit the program’s 360 page. To contact DEI personnel, team members can email the DEI group mailbox at firstname.lastname@example.org
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